Shelly Watkins, Edoc Service Scriptus Administrative Assistant, is exactly what you’d want in a team player: she’s dependable, passionate, empathetic, humble, agile, and she’s also a continual learner.

She’s been with the team for about two years now, but Shelly hasn’t always worked remotely. That’s part of why we wanted to interview her to hear her perspective on tips and strategies for how to transition, and then thrive, in a remote setting.

We also wanted to highlight more about her remarkable life experience and how she spends time outside of work, too. (After all, we’re all about having a good, quality of life, not just quality of life at work.)

Keep reading to hear that incredible story about one of her biggest challenges in life, and how that forever changed her, and uncover what she loves doing outside of work.

Q: What do enjoy about your job right now?

The people. The stress-free environment. The flexibility and being able to take care of me and my family when I need to. Being able to get up and go for a run in the middle of the day, or even to go shopping for groceries. Basically, as an administrative assistant, I could potentially be in front of the computer 12 hours a day. I had to relearn how to work best for me.

Since the biggest part of my job is taking care of things as they come in or as needed, I had to learn how to really divide up my time during the day. I was used to sitting down for 8 hours, sometimes straight, and just working.

Now I take MANY breaks throughout the day, some of them hours long, so that I have time available to do work in the morning, afternoon, and even early evening if it is needed, but not work over my hours. This was very difficult to obtain and is still something I work on.

I start work as a general rule, about 7:15 am, but that is PST, so I start out sometimes feeling behind. But this gives me the ability to spread out my hours, to about 5:00 pm, which is late evening for most that I communicate with.

Q: What is the greatest thing you have overcome?

In the summer of 2017, I developed a large Pulmonary Embolism, or blood clot, that took up most of my right and part of my left lung. I was a fairly healthy 42-year-old, and this took my life by surprise. 

After 4 months of medical leave and then 6 months of trying to catch up at my job as a case manager for adults with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities I made the hard decision to leave my position. I had worked hard to get this dream job of mine; going back to school and seemingly missing out of 3 years of my children’s lives. I really thought I wanted it, but eventually this job had created a lot of stress for me and took a significant toll on my health.

I decided it was time to take care of me, take charge of my health, and the direction my life was heading. I was battling high blood pressure, high cholesterol, significant weight gain, and being stressed and unhappy in the workplace.

I started working for Edoc, and because working for a virtual company is so different than a 9 to 5 job, I was able to slowly fit walking, then jogging, into my schedule several times a week.

Recently for my 45th birthday I was able to complete my first backpacking trip. My husband and I hiked 40 miles in 3 days. Because I now work for a company that allows me to put my health and family first, I have been able to get back on the right track. I learned the hard way that having a job where I could focus on my health and well-being should have been at the top of my priorities.

Q: What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

I love hiking a beautiful trail somewhere here in the Pacific North West and going camping with my husband, gardening, crafting with my Cricut (I once had a dream to own a screen-printing business), cake decorating, and reading.

My favorite authors at the moment are Liane Moriarty and Jodi Picoult, although I have read all but one of theirs, so I need to find another author to love on! My husband is a long-distance runner. I love to follow my husband around at his races and crew for him.

Most of his races are 50k to 100k, and so I study maps and details of the course beforehand and meet up with him where I can to either just cheer him and other friends on, or help them get anything they may need; change of clothes, shoes, nutrition, water, bandage, gloves, etc.

Q: What has been your favorite vacation to date?

Because of the flexibility my position at Edoc provides, my husband and I had the good fortune to be able to vacation in Jamaica in March of this year. We made it back to the states just before everything was shut down, although we really did not realize this until we were getting ready to come back.

While in Jamaica, COVID-19 was something distant. When we left home, it was only just starting to really be talked about. We feel so fortunate to have gone when we did, and we enjoyed our time there immensely. 

What did we enjoy most, aside from the beauty of the land? The beauty of the people, their perceptions and lives. The laid back, relaxed everyday feeling of not having any worries. The rich culture. We only communicated through messenger with our adult kids when we thought we should check in, and I tried only to use my phone for photos. It was a very freeing trip, and my husband and I plan on making these types of vacations; to see the world and learn about different cultures and people, a part of our lives. 

My favorite part was our last day on the island, when one of the people who was the “captain” of the snorkeling boat at our resort took us to his town of Discovery Bay and showed us around town, took us to his home to meet his family and to the local beach.

It was so much more than I could ever explain, and although I already knew it, I found just how privileged we really are. We left the island feeling humbled and inspired. The friendships and connections, although brief, that we made with the locals there will forever be with me. Seriously. 

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